Saturday, 18 August, 2018

European Union says no 'immediate' clarity from USA on trade tariffs

European Union says no 'immediate' clarity from USA on trade tariffs European Union says no 'immediate' clarity from USA on trade tariffs
Melinda Barton | 10 March, 2018, 23:32

The EU's trade chief says talks with U.S. President Donald Trump's envoy failed to secure an exemption for EU steel from upcoming tariffs that have sparked fears of a new trade war.

Malmström will meet U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Brussels on Saturday to discuss an exemption. According to Reuters, Japanese Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko will also join the meeting in Brussels. All three pledged in a statement afterward to work together to fight dumping that hurts jobs and industries around the world.

"She was quick to hold Trump's hand in the White House previous year, but she has shown that she hasn't got what it takes to force his hand on steel tariffs or do what is required to protect and support the British steel industry".

Canada and Mexico will be exempt from the tariffs initially, and Australia is optimistic that it too will gain exemption.

Key U.S. trading partners and businesses have warned the tariffs could backfire, provoking a trade war a trade war and hurting allies like the European Union and Japan more than China, their main target.

"The European Union has chose to respond clearly to the USA measures and as the federal government we support this position", government spokesman Georg Streiter told a regular news conference.

China's steel and metals associations urged the government to retaliate, citing imports from the United States ranging from stainless steel to coal, agricultural products and electronics.

"He is committed to having a very fair and reciprocal military and trade relationship", Trump said on Twitter, referring to Turnbull.

Beyond imposing retaliatory tariffs on USA goods, the EU is prepared to file a case at the World Trade Organization against the Trump administration in cooperation with other countries and to introduce "safeguard" measures to prevent steel shipments from other parts of the world to America from being diverted to the European market and flooding it.

Last year, China imported 3.2 million tons of USA coal, worth about $420 million and almost five times the amount it took in 2016.

In talks, the United States should not expect any European Union concessions to win an exemption, European Union officials said.

Trade partners and close allies warned that Trump's tariffs could backfire Friday, promising duties on American goods - from peanut butter to bourbon - in retaliation.

"The EU is a close ally of the United States and we continue to be of the view that the EU should be excluded from these measures", EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem wrote on Twitter.

Brussels has reminded Trump that tit-for-tat trade measures deepened the Great Depression in the 1930s and in the 2000s cost thousands of United States jobs when Washington imposed tariffs on European steel.

The EU intends to hit a range of US goods with punitive tariffs in retaliation should the bloc face the USA import taxes.

Seko did not go into what conditions might allow Japan to evade tariffs and, asked if Lighthizer had brought up the US trade deficit with Japan, Seko said no.

The EU is seeking clarity from Washington about whether the 28-nation bloc will be exempt from the USA tariffs, like Canada and Mexico are.

"These measures could make a significant impact on the economic and cooperative relationship between Japan and the USA, who are allies", said Japan's foreign minister, Taro Kono.